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Official: Dave Clanachan steps down as CPL Commissioner; Will build new team in Windsor

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CPL Commissioner David Clanachan’s departure marks a turning point in the league’s identity.

Outgoing CPL Commissioner David Clanachan gives his “State of the League” address in December.
Carolina Ruada/Canadian Premier League

David Clanachan is bringing soccer home.

The CPL announced Monday that Clanachan is stepping down as commissioner and has been given the rights to a new franchise in the Windsor/Essex area.

Clanachan hails from the region and obtained his BComm degree from the University of Windsor. His commitment to the area naturally runs deep: “Windsor’s passionate sports community has always inspired me and fueled my love of soccer,” he was quoted on canpl.ca. “It has been a dream of mine to bring professional soccer to the amazing people of Windsor/Essex County.”

As is the case for all new CPL teams, Clanachan will have to secure financial investments as well as community and business partnerships in order for the franchise to move forward. The league’s press release singled out a “soccer-specific stadium” as a specific benchmark, signifying a priority for the league as a whole.

League in transition

This also marks a time of change in the league’s identity, since Clanachan’s departure marks the end of an initial “planting” phase. In his “State of the League” address, before the Championship Final in December, he highlighted the CPL’s newfound maturity after three years of competition. His tenure was entirely focused on bringing the league to that confident footing, “thriving” despite the drastic and very human uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking back on his time as commissioner, Clanachan also pointed out that the CPL’s success has played an integral role in soccer’s unprecedented popularity throughout Canada. “I see now a game that’s really taken a hold of this country for the first time ever,” he told CPL’s Kristian Jack on Monday. “Coast to coast this thing has really taken root. I think the important thing here now is to protect it and continue to develop and build it. And I think we’re there. We are moving forward.”

Clanachan himself will move forward in his old stomping grounds and join a group of owners who have played their own part in the league’s success. It’ll be up to a new commissioner to lead the Canadian Premier League through a period of stable growth as the country prepares to co-host the 2026 World Cup.